The monster Lunar New Year hit of 2000 features an all-star
cast and all-star hijinks. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai stars as Lam,
the toughest private eye in Tokyo. Despite his small stature
and broken Japanese, he owns the Tokyo streets with his suave
charisma and John Steed-like fighting skills. He falls in
with jilted bride Macy (Kelly Chan), who arrives in Tokyo
chasing her wayward groom Takahashi (Toru Nakamura of Gen-X
Cops). Tailing her is interior designer Yung (Ekin Cheng),
whoís after Takashi to settle a debt. Soon their paths cross
and mayhem ensues. Various factions are after Macy for reasons
not entirely unknown, and it seems that Lam and Yung may have
a few secrets themselves.
Disbelief must be suspended during
the course of this 2-hour action comedy as the fighting is
over-the-top and the characters are beyond silly (Ekin Cheng
as a five-time wushu champion?). Eventually the main plot
is uncovered, and quite frankly it isnít all that interesting.
What saves the movie is action and lots of it. It seems every
other scene contains some excuse for a fight or chase sequence.
Leung handles himself well during his well-choreographed action
scenes, and he even manages to do most of his own stunts.
Cheng fakes his fighting pretty well, and he fits his annoying,
wacky character to a T. Kelly Chan looks great, which is par
for the course for her.
Iím not being too overly critical
of this movie, which is another in HKís big-budget action
sweepstakes. Iíve begun to frown upon poorly-plotted HK action
spectacles, but Tokyo Raiders manages to remind us
that itís all in the name of fun. Unlike the ridiculous 2000
A.D., Tokyo Raiders acknowledges its unrealism
with the occasional wink to the audience. Director Jingle
Ma doesnít inject much unnecessary emotion into the film,
and he rarely slows the pace.
The only boring patches are
the requisite soul-searching by Macy, who canít understand
the loss of her fiancťe. After that, just forget about any
cheesy romance angle. Watch for the action, the location (in
addition to directing, Ma provides his usual superlative cinematography),
and for Tony Leung, who once again shows why he's one of Hong
Kong's most popular actors. His charm and easy charisma lets
us know from frame one: this is all in fun. And it is. (Kozo